A Moral Dilemma

MizLizzieFebruary 3, 2013

I've finally chosen all the appliances for our upcoming reno. I am so grateful to everyone here for their help and candid opinions.

Early on in the process our kitchen contractor recommended a small local appliance dealer who he said would give us exceptional service. And they have, insofar as we've needed service. The KC assures us he gets nothing save good cooperation from this dealer; i.e.., no kickbacks, and I believe him.

I visited the shop once, and we've exchanged one phone call and 2 emails on such topics as pricing, availability, dimensions and he has also given me his recommendations which seem accurate and fair. He has prepared a detailed quote and attached mfg dimension diagrams, etc, for the install. I was a little annoyed that the dealer never mentioned rebates -- every appliance save our warming drawer has a significant rebate -- but I found the info via AJM's website.

But on the 5 appliances we need, this local dealer runs $1,000+ higher than AJMadison, factoring in an $85 delivery fee. I'm not even counting the state tax we WOULDN'T pay at AJM as I don't think that is fair to hold against a business. That said, our state tax on appliances is 7%, so $400+

This dealer maintains a shop and pays the associated overhead so that I can go in and SEE things -- he had the oven, warming drawer, and DW on the floor. And he will probably give good service if something goes wrong. I see here from past posts that you can't always count on AJM for that. But a thousand dollars is a lot of money. He's charging +$285 and +$275 more on an Elux fridge and Elux wall oven alone.

But if we all keep looking in showrooms then making the actually purchase online, everyone -- especially our mom-n-pop shops -- will go out of business. And then we will all be at the mercy of places like AJM. Have you ever asked a local shop to price match, and if so, did they? Or is that even fair? Can they do that and survive? How thin are the margins on appliances, anyway? This local shop looks like a hole in the wall, BTW, tho they carry Viking, Thermador, Aga, etc. Still, no one looks to be living high on the hog.

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Definitely ask for a price match, if he wants the business he'll work with you. You shouldn't become emotionally indebted to anyone your doing business with, if he's a savvy bus. man he'll understand the value of your purchases and that $$ is $$. If he starts giving you some song and dance I would back off. I live in a small rural community and work hard to use locals, most understand and can use the business even at a competitive price point but they also need to understand they aren't the only game around.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:41PM
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Fori is not pleased

Ask the locals what they can do to get closer. Maybe they can install or discount harder.

Since they didn't mention the rebates, you won't have to feel quite so guilty if it doesn't work out. :)

But I would at least give the locals a chance to be more competitive.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Ask to see if they'll come down and even meet you halfway. Remember, you may need them to service your machines.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 6:49PM
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Ditto. I felt this way about using a local appliance dealer. I showed them the prices online, and they matched them. I think if they'd even come close, I'd still have purchased from the local guy.

Elux, as I remember, doesn't allow prices differences, or at least they didn't in 2011. I got Elux ovens, and the price was the same everywhere. If there's a rebate, they should be able to give it to you.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 7:16PM
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Home Depot as well as Lowes carries Elux appliances.

Electrolux allows coupons and storewide sales to be used for Elux appliances therefore UMRP is ignored and there is price competition.

You don't need a local store for warranty or service. You call the manufacture and 99% of customers have several choices for appliance repair if you are not buying obscure luxury brands.

AJM has a brick and mortar store in Brooklyn with associated rent, employees and taxes. I also think they are a family owned business.

AJM also pays web designers and servers that give customers excellent way to research. As MizLizzie used to find about rebates.

I would be willing to pay a small premium to a local business with an excellent customer service reputation. If the manufacture does not give you satisfactory service sometimes the local dealer can act as an advocate for you. And I rather complain in person than by email/phone. That seems to get matters resolved at a higher rate.

I would not pay a premium to a local business because I feel indebted because they gave me a quote and answered a phone call and email.

I would feel fine being at the "mercy" of retailers that compete and ship nationally like AJM,ABT, Abes of Main, as well as Fergusson, Best Buy, Sears, Lowes, and Home Depot.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 8:12PM
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I am glad there are a few folks not watching the game tonight. ;-)

Yes, I was shocked at the disparity in prices being quoted on the Elux 30" single oven (Wave Touch) but they are all over the board.

I do think this particular dealer helps quite a lot with service. He did say that if ever I needed service, I was to call them, and they would set everything up for me. They do this for all their brands, he said, except LG, which they had found too hard to work with. In fact, they do not put LG on the floor for his reason, he said, but will order it if a customer insists.

I live in an area that is growing fast, and many of the big builders deal through this particular shop, I think.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:17PM
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Well, I wouldn't factor the tax at all because you are supposed to pay it yourself. I have seen at least one story, I think here, where a tax bill arrived for out of state purchase of appliances that had not been reported and paid. Now how strictly that's enforced I'm sure varies greatly, but in theory it needs to be paid.

If that $1000 contains rebates not mentioned, those should be factored out too as your purchase locally should qualify too. Most rebates are not supplier specific, many are manufacturer rebates (though on occasion I have seen some big box stores excluded, presumably due to the prices they sell at). There could be a reason the rebates were not mention, from he didnt think you were near the purchasing stage, to he didn't want you to feel pressured by a rebate deadline, to he tries to help select the best fit for your needs before discussing monetary incentives that may skew your decision.

Give them a call, they will probably work with you a bit.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:27PM
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ITA on the taxes, honestly. I think everyone should have to collect them to level the playing field. But the rebates, yes, I factored them into my math, and both my local store and AJM are eligible. They are direct-from-mfg rebates from Bosch and Elux. The only stores ineligible seem to be Lowes, HD, Sears and BestBuy.

I think PaintedLady has the right strategy. Ask them to split the difference with me. I will get that back in goodwill, I think, from my contractor. I hope they will do it.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:07PM
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I don't know how long you've been looking, but rebates typically come and go--and they definitely weren't mentioned to me during the pricing/shopping process until almost the end (this comes from a washer/dryer, refrigerator, and dishwasher buying experience). But ask them about the rebates.

I think you should expect competitive, but not the absolute lowest prices from local shops that do a good job. You said they took the time to explain stuff, and maybe they prevented you from making a mistake in your purchase. An appliance dealer that does their homework and yours is worth some extra cost to me. While AJM might be able to provide some of those services, and I definitely check out their website, I have a hard time buying from them. There is too much "what if".

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 2:23AM
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One more thing to consider ... The value of a responsive, local dealer becomes important down the line if repairs are needed. Around here, dealers increasingly service only the appliances they've sold. The big stores aren't always as efficient or reliable on servicing.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Thanks, Julieb and starboard. ITA on all points. There is a security in knowing you can go look someone in the face if something goes wrong, and knowing that they will arrange service if needed.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:50AM
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